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What we learned from the Australian Open 2014

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What a ferocious start to the new tennis year it's been.

Heads were rolling and champions were stunned across Melbourne Park. Extreme heat hit the courts and while the most improbable duo got crowned at Rod Laver Arena, there were a few things to note in the absolutely unprecedented string of events which twisted the last fortnight of tennis.

Federer is working his way back. So is Andy Murray

In his record-breaking 57th appearance at a Grand Slam, the Swiss maestro nailed four straight-sets victories including a win against Jo-Wilfred Tsonga before Andy Murray robbed him of one set.

But Federer had certainly drawn positives from beating the man who denied him a spot in the final last year. Of course, Murray too is seeking his top form after being out of action since September. But while the Scott's comeback seems a matter of time, the former No.1's three-set loss to Rafael Nadal was an indication he's got tons to do before challenging the top.

Future looks bright for women's tennis

A string of upsets starting with Caroline Wozniacki and Serena Williams' early exits prompted the most unpredictable women's tournament in ages. Maria Sharapova and champion Victoria Azarenka were gone by the semis and with none of the power-driven players in the mix, no one could guess the champion. Dominika Cibulkova recorded her first major final, but in-form Li Na was third time lucky after missing on the title twice in the past four years.

Add to that the up and coming Eugenie Bouchard, Casey Dellacqua and Garbine Muguruza and the established players have a lot to watch out for this year.

Fresh faces could raid the top 10

The men too need to keep their eyes peeled. Australian Open was Grigor Dimitrov's break-through tournament as the 22nd seed blasted into the last eight. The Bulgarian, dubbed Baby Fed because of his style of play, won in Stockholm last year and is improving rapidly.

He was the only player to win a set against Nadal prior to the final and the Spaniard himself claimed Dimitrov had the qualities to reach the top. Kei Nishikori, Vasek Pospisil and Jerzy Janowicz are also looking to shake-up the status quo.

Nadal is all in

All eyes were on the title favourite in one of the bitterest defeats in his career. Nadal had lost before when a title was at stake, but never had he agonised so badly as the chance was slipping away. It was like witnessing a tragedy - as bad as it was, one just couldn't help but keep watching.

And Nadal fought with the back pain which tortured him since the warm-up winning a set off a confused Stanislas Wawrinka. The Spaniard's shots were improving, but he couldn't keep up with the man who was bidding for a first major. Stan served out the match to bring possibly the biggest heart-break his friend has experienced. This was the perfect showdown of an absorbing tournament.

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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